Rolling out a multilingual SharePoint site is likely more complicated than you might think at first glance.

If your organization has a SharePoint site that needs to operate in multiple countries, it’s obvious that you may need to have a multilingual site. SharePoint makes it relatively easy to support multi-language deployments, but it’s important that a multilingual SharePoint site is rolled out properly.

SharePoint language packs

If you’re using your own SharePoint server, you’ll want to install language packs for the necessary languages. If you’re a SharePoint Online user, language packs are already installed. All you need to do to enable a language pack in SharePoint Online is to go to Settings on any site page and choose Site Settings. Under the Site Administration section, choose Language Settings, then indicate the language you want under the Alternative Language section.

Automated language packs may not be sufficient

It’s important to understand that Microsoft’s built-in language packs may not be sufficient for your needs. Microsoft suggests that you have one master site (in your default language) and then use that site as the source for other translations. Microsoft’s built-in language packs may be able to translate a portion of your existing SharePoint site, but as you’ve probably learned when using automated translation tools, the finished product may not always be ideal.

If you’re looking for seamless deployment of a multilingual SharePoint site, it’s best to hire a translation firm to ensure that all the necessary content is translated properly. Your other alternative is to utilize some of your employees who are fluent in both languages. The disadvantage of this approach is that you may not have a good way to ensure the translations are correct if you don’t have a translation company performing quality control once the translation is complete.

Benefits of a multilingual SharePoint site

There are many benefits of migrating your SharePoint site into a variety of languages, including:

Make your international employees feel appreciated

If your primary SharePoint site is in English, but you have offices all over the world, it’s not a good idea to provide content in English only. Why not roll out a multilingual SharePoint site so that your international employees can feel that they’re an integral part of your team?

Streamline communication

Languages are incredibly complex, and if you have employees who speak a variety of languages, but your SharePoint site is only built in one language, this could create communication problems. We all take for granted the complexity of our native language. English, in particular, is quite complex, and if you’re fully reliant on an English based SharePoint site to serve the needs of your international employees, you could be creating a scenario where communication channels break down. Be sure to roll out a multilingual SharePoint site to ensure all your employees can adequately understand and participate in online communication regardless of their location.

Better organize content across different languages

SharePoint offers a unified interface that allows you to manage multilingual content through templates that are designed to maintain a tight connection between the original version and different translations of the same document.

Need help rolling out a multilingual SharePoint site?

Whether you’re interested in rolling out an on-premises or cloud-based SharePoint multilingual site, don’t go at it alone. The process can be quite complex, and if done incorrectly can create a scenario where your multilingual platform is ineffective. At MessageOps, we’d be happy to assist you in laying out the proper foundation to ensure your SharePoint site is multilingual.

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